The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has promised that additional targeted testing will be undertaken in order to plug the gaps that have been created by the significant reduction in testing caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a question and answer document provided to athletes WADA conceded that confidence in the anti-doping process may be reduced as testing has come to a complete halt in many countries due to lockdown restrictions imposed. In the document WADA said it is “monitoring closely where levels of testing have been reduced altogether and is in close communication with ADOs to work together to find the best ways to be effective during this period.”
Countries are beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions and sport is now returning to competition, with the Bundesliga restarting on 16th May and other sports looking to follow suit in the coming weeks and months. WADA has expressed that testing will only be undertaken when it is safest to do so and that is lockdown restrictions remain then anti-doping organisation should “test only in the most appropriate scenarios.”
WADA said it is determined to learn from this pandemic and hopes that it “can be strengthened from this experience” but also stressed there will be wide reaching impacts, “ when the sporting landscape returns to a certain normality, these 'gaps' in testing will be addressed cooperatively through additional targeted testing especially given that intelligence-gathering and investigations continue. Placing public health above the needs of the anti-doping system means that there may be impacts on the fight against doping in sport.”
Many have argued that the pandemic will provide athletes with the chance to get away with doping due to the fact that no testing is being undertaken to catch them cheating but WADA is confident that it always has the capability to catch those individuals who do cheat.
You can read the full Q & A here.